Friday, April 22, 2005

Connecting the dots: Oil-for-food trail points north

A lot of people here in the U.S. were disappointed (at least) when Canada refused to join us in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Some revelations over the past several months seem to indicate that the real reason for Canada's reluctance had little to do with its opposition to military intervention and a lot to do with Canadian business interests... in particular, one company with close ties to both former Prime Minister Jean Chretien and current (at least for now) PM Paul Martin.
By all accounts, the Power Corp. is a rather low-key outfit, unusual for a company that was credited with $16 billion (Cdn) in earnings last year. Its holdings, according to the Western Standard, span a wide range of interests, including publishing, defense and financial services. It also once owned the shipping company now owned by PM Martin's family. In fact, Martin is a former Power Corp. executive.
Also, Chretien's daughter married into the Desmarais family, the dominant family in the Power Corp.
As for the rest of the dots...
* One of the Power Corp.'s investments, a France-based bank, is one of the key players in the Oil-For-Food scandal now enveloping the United Nations.
* Two U.N. officials mentioned in more recent reports as having potential ties to Oil-For-Food are Canadians -- Maurice Strong, a former Power Corp. executive, and Louise Frechette, a career diplomat and a potential U.N. Secretary-General of the future, according to the Western Standard reporting of April 18.
The nature of Power Corp.'s involvement in Oil-For-Food may be innocent; it may not. That will be for the Oil-for-Food investigators to determine. At the least, it would be embarrassing that Canada -- a nation which had a reputation for supporting human rights efforts -- would be so opposed to clearly liberating the human rights of the Iraqis, including the millions tortured and killed under the Saddam Hussein regime.
Therefore, it seems as if Canada's refusal to join Iraqi Freedom may have been driven by motivations other than purity.
If that is indeed the case, it's going to be damned difficult to look at our northern neighbors the same way.
UPDATE: Thanks to Angry in the Great White North (, there is more evidence to support this theory -- Saddan Insane invested a million bucks in a company owned by ... Canadian PM Paul Martin.

Sources: (includes links to other CFP stories)